The Green Light Award Grading Criteria Bottom of Page

Before applying for the The Green Light Award, please check to make sure that the website you’re submitting is qualified to win this award by reading the Disqualification Criteria. Each site submitted for consideration will be graded upon this criteria:

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CONTENT (Total 30 Points)
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The Topic & Quality of Content - (8 points) The topic should be clearly stated on the home page, and the site should support the topic with relevant text and graphics. Does your site have sufficient written content on each page? A search engine when it "reads" your page needs words; if it doesn’t get them it will rank your page accordingly. We will deduct points for site content that is off subject, and for information that would be incomprehensible to anyone that doesn’t have a degree in "Rocket Science."

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Spelling and Grammar - (4 points) should be correct throughout the site, and the sentence structure should make sense and not leave us scratching our heads. To ensure that these errors are kept to minimum we recommend that a spell checker is used. Useful Tip You can check your spelling on line at SpellCheck.net. We allow two spelling errors per page, anything above this and the site will lose points. We are aware of the difference in spelling between different countries and take this into consideration.

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Copyright Statement - (4 points) There should be a Copyright Statement on the site so that visitors will know who created the content. This is especially important if any of the text, graphics, music, etc., that are present did not originate with the author of the site. The authors of such items should be noted appropriately, as should the permission(s) to use the content. The Copyright Statement should be prominently displayed and maximum points are awarded if it is accessible from every page.

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Privacy Policy - (4 points) A Privacy Policy is very important because it lets visitors know what information is collected on the site, and what is done with this information. Even if the site is non-commercial, but information is asked of visitors in the way of a guest book, or is volunteered by a visitor through E-mail contact, then there should be a Privacy Policy on the site. This policy should be prominently displayed and maximum points are awarded if it is accessible from every page.

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Something to Offer - (6 points) The site should offer something to visitors in the way of information/educational material, graphics, music, or awards.


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Down To Navigation

CONSTRUCTION (Total 20 Points)

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Coding Errors/Readable Code - (4 points) Some browsers can’t read the code in "Frame Sets." If you use "Frames" for your pages, there should be a "No Frames" version so that it can be read by browsers with "Frames" turned off. Zero points will be given to those sites that make it hard for us to verify the code.

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Links - (4 points) All links within the site (internal) should be functional. We will deduct a point for every internal link that is broken. We will also deduct points if more than 10% of the outside (external) links are not working. Useful Tip To verify the integrity of your links we recommend that you download Xenu Link Sleuth.
Follow this link to download Xenu

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Maintenance - (2 points) The site needs to show that it is well maintained and regularly updated. There should be a date showing when the last updated occurred on the site’s home page. If this date is more than two months old these points will not be awarded.

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Horizontal Scroll - (2 points) Any horizontal scroll bars that we see at 1024 x 768 resolution will result in a reduction of these points.

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ALT Tags - (2 points) ALT tags should be used on all images. This is because all browsers are not created equal - some do not see all of the images. It is also an easy way for visitors to recognize what the graphic is, especially if for any reason it is missing. At least the text will then inform them what is supposed to be there. Here’s an example for adding these "ALT" tags to image links:

<img src="images/1406_playground_equipment_box.jpg" ALT="1406 Playground Equipment Box" width="157" height="115" border="0">
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Loading Time - (3 points) Each of the pages on your website should load in under 15 seconds with a broadband connection. No one wants to sit around waiting for a page to load, especially if there is very little or no content to read while the pictures are loading. If a page takes a long time to load with no content, then the visitors are just going to get tired of waiting and not bother with the site.

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Browser Compatibility - (3 points) Is your site viewable in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera? We will be checking your site to see if it loads properly in these browsers. Not everyone uses the same browser and you don’t want to limit accessibility to your site.


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NAVIGATION (Total 20 Points)

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The Navigation System - (4 points) is shown in a consistent location and is user friendly and functional. Please make the viewers ability to navigate around the site easy. This is to your advantage because people will just leave your pages if they cannot work the navigation system.

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Home Page - (3 points) The site should allow you return to the home page from anywhere on the site. A good website will have a home link on every page. If visitors to the site want to go back to the home page, they should not have to search for a link.

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Site Map or Site Index - (3 points) There should be a site map, or site index, if your site is complex and has distinctive sections . Having a site map or index would allow visitors to go to one page to check everything you have before deciding which section they would like to view first. Maximum points are earned here if there is a link to the site map on every page.

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To-Top Links - (3 points) There are times when due to the subject matter, or for design continuity, that a page may be longer than normal and we recognize that. Should this happen, then there should be a "Top of Page Link" at the bottom of the page. Additional "To Top" links should be interspersed within the body of the page, as needed, every three vertical scrolls at 1024 x 768 resolution.

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Proper Windows for Links - (4 points) External links should always open in a new window, and internal links should open in the same window. If your site conforms to this, then these points will be awarded.

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An E-Mail Address - (3 points) to contact the author of the site should be listed, at minimum, on the home page. Maximum points are awarded to sites that have an E-Mail link on every page. The reason for this is simple, visitors may, at any time, find a reason to contact you, and it is a real pain to have to go back through the pages to find an E-mail link. Plus, this may just cause the visitors to loose interest in your site.


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DESIGN (Total 30 Points)

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Design and Appearance of the Home Page - (6 points) The Home Page is what creates a first impression for most of the visitors to your site. It is from here that they should be able to reach all portions of the site. Web authors that accomplish this with a pleasing design, original graphics, and content will earn with these points.

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Design and Appearance - (5 points) The site should have a consistent and uniform appearance at least within major sub-sections. Is it pleasing to look at? Consistency in design is a valuable aid in the presentation of quality graphics and information, and it is vital in allowing visitors to easily navigate the site. In addition, it is a good practice to use a consistent font throughout the site.

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Color Harmony - (4 points) The graphics and fonts should show colour harmony at least within major sections of the site. We look for graphics and fonts that complement and blend in well with the overall appearance of the site.

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Image Quality - (4 points) All of the graphics that are used should be clear and sharp. We will deduct points for graphics that are not related to the subject covered, and for pictures that are excessively pixilated and/or indistinct, or those that are not functional. If you know how to create and use the proper graphic formats for the net (GIF and JPEG) then you will earn these points.

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The Intelligent Use of Images (White Space) - (5 points) There should be good use of images with a minimum of white space. "White space" are the parts of the page that have nothing on them. Pictures should break up long passages of text, and when they are placed properly will elaborate on appropriate passages in the text. We mark down sites that use text only, and sites that are only a collection of images that are crowded together without any explanation for their existance.

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Type Set - (4 points) The fonts that are used should complement the graphics and the text. For example, the use of the font "Comic Sans" would be inappropriate when talking about railroad fatalities of the 19th century. The font should also be consistent in type and color at least within sub-sections of the site, and it should be easy to read against the selected background. Small text that makes our myopic evaluators squint will loose points here.

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Consistency vs. Creativity - (6 points) It is here that this award parts company with many other awards on the net. While "Consistency" is important, especially when concerned with the navigation of a site, applying this principle to a whole site sometimes interferes with the content and graphics that are being conveyed. When this happens, we award these points to sites who have ventured on the side of "Content" and "Creativity," and that give us a definite reason to return.


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GREEN LIGHT SPECIAL (Total 6 Points)

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Discretionary Design Aesthetics - (2 points) These points are given for aesthetic design and they are awarded to sites that make us go, "WOW!" Sites that by their nature create a visual treat for our eyes and senses and make us want to go back just to look some more. These points are subjective, but since this award is weighted on the "Content & Design Side," you know what to expect here.

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Error 404 Custom Designed Page - (1 point) We’re sure you’ve come across these occassionally, and if you have one for your site you will earn this additional point. Don’t know what were talking about? Useful Tip Check out the 404 Research Lab to find out more information.

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Internet Rating Associations - (1 point) If your site has been rated by any of the "child-safe" rating associations you will qualify for this addition to your score. We will verify the labels that are used by such organizations as ICRA or SafeSurf.

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GB W3C Compliancy - (2 points) Is the site compliant with W3C standards? You will receive this addition to your score if your site complies with the W3C Accessibility Standards. Maximum points will be awarded to sites that make it easier for us to verify their code. Useful Tip You can find out more about this at W3C Markup Validation Service.

The decision to issue the Green Light Award is based on your point score of the above criteria. 70 out of a possible 106 points are needed to win The Green Light Award. The decision of our judges is final. Wining recipients will be notified by email.

There is a two month waiting period for resubmitting a site for reconsideration.


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